My Experience at the Younger Generations Urantia Conference in Boulder CO January 13-16, 2012
By Geoff Theiss: a 24 year old second-generation reader and YaYA Committee member from Livermore, CA.
looking for the center, unable
to find it, draws a blade,
Often when we retell a recent experience or memory, the story is characterized by a climax of euphoric emotion or dramatic excitement. But that was not the case this weekend in Boulder at a conference for young Urantia Book readers. The weekend for me was defined by an overwhelming sense of simple contentment; there was a sublime satisfaction in just being my normal everyday self. Although it’s impossible to narrow down the one aspect of the weekend that created this feeling, it definitely had to do with the comforting warmth of being surrounded by like minded peers. Everyone participating in the weekend’s activities sincerely desired to build loving relationships and share in achieving a strengthened personal connection with God. And all of that was made possible by the creative effort of Mike MacIsaac, who deserves special thanks for organizing such a unique opportunity for inward growth.
I arrived late on Friday and unfortunately missed the Chris Halvorson’s unique Perfecting Horizons study class (video and audio archives at this link http://www.perfectinghorizons.org/). But I did arrive in time to meet and connect with the group afterwards at the bar at the Outlook Hotel (where many attendants stayed). Saturday began with introductions focused on personal spiritual practice. We had the opportunity to share why we wanted to participate in the weekend and explain how we incorporate Father-minded thoughts, activities, and prayers into our daily lives. There were twenty-something young adults, including young parents, from all over North America who had varying levels of familiarity with the Urantia Book. Regardless of Book familiarity, however, there was a foundation of mutual respect. In fact, no one was on a pedestal (either literally or figuratively) at any point in the weekend, which is one of the many things about the UB community that I am fond of.
The afternoon progressed with a hike in the Boulder foothills followed by a challenging workshop on improving the content and quality of communication in relationship. In the evening we participated in a potluck event which was co-hosted by the local reader society Rocky Mountain Spiritual Fellowship. Highlights included an avocado-grapefruit salad, a beautiful trio of violin melodies, humor and inspiration filled talks by younger and older readers, and much opportunity for fellowship. The evening concluded with another rendezvous at the Outlook Hotel bar, late night hot-tubbing, and philosophical conversation lasting till sunrise.
One of the primary themes of the weekend was building community. We were introduced over the course of the weekend to every major organization of the larger UB community such as Urantia Foundation, Urantia Association International (UAI), The Urantia Book Fellowship—including the Fellowship’s Youth and Young Adult (YaYA) Committee—and Truthseekers. Being a member of the YaYA Committee myself, I was glad we were given an opportunity to share the exciting projects that our generation is invested in. The YaYA Committee has been given funding and the freedom to help co-sponsor and organize gatherings like this. It seemed that everyone this weekend was committed to establishing a nonpartisan future founded on tolerance and the shared goal of living the teachings. Someone even suggested that since our team is dedicated to building community among the younger generations, we could envision ways to partner with all three of the larger organizations. An idea worth considering…
After a series of workshops from improv to indwelling spirit and some Book study, I had to make my bittersweet departure Sunday evening. The gathering continued without me for another day of worship and fellowship on Monday which I regret to have missed.
All in all though, the weekend was a success. It is always amazing how events like this yield a heightened self-confidence that carries over into my real-world existence, and coming back to California, I am still riding high. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to making this weekend happen. I eagerly await our next adventure.